Niagara Gazette


January 11, 2013

A thirst ror history in the Village of Lewiston

Niagara Gazette — History is once again set to come alive in Lewiston, this time with a bit of a kick. An alcohol induced one.

Owners and managers of the village's bar and restaurant scene are coming together to present the first Lewiston Cocktail Festival, an attempt to take advantage of the legend of Catherine Hustler – the possible inventor of the cocktail.

"I kept hearing the underlying theme about the invention of the cocktail here in Lewiston," Jon DiBernardo, owner of Water Street Landing, said. "I'd been thinking of having some sort of event here for the last eight years. I finally said it's time we do something. We want to make sure the cocktail is owned by the community of Lewiston."

The story of the cocktail is mostly conjecture, as other communities also claim ownership of the mixed drink. But, according to the Lewiston Historical Society, Lewiston has a bit of evidence in its favor in the form of a book called "The Spy," by James Fenimore Cooper, a man who knew Hustler and even created a character based on her.

The character's name is Betty Flanagan and he gives her credit in the story for inventing the cocktail. Although it's fictional, members of the Historical Association believe there's more truth to Cooper's words than anything.

Though details are still being worked out following the event's first planning meeting Thursday, organizers like DiBernardo are hoping to hold the one-day event in early March, possibly the first or second weekend. And they're not looking to create an event featuring debauchery and public intoxication.

"We don't want to create Mardi Gras," DiBernardo said. "Our goal is to take some of the doldrums between this being New York and winter and give it a bit of a spike. Eventually, we'd like to see a weekend event. We can go as far as we want with this."

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